A woodland the size of two football pitches has been "ruined" after most of its tree were cut down.

Three Rivers District Council found the protected woodland in Langleybury, adjacent to an established traveller site in Old House Lane in Kings Langley, was missing most of its trees after receiving complaints.

The council said it was shocked when it found a parcel of the woodland, which is 1.2 hectares in size, almost "completely cleared".

It said the trees were felled without permission.

One man, who lives near the woodland, said the felling of the trees has "ruined the landscape".

He believes more than 250 trees have been cut down.

Now, council officers have obtained an injunction from the High Court preventing development of the land.

This will prevent several works including the felling of any other trees, laying of hardstanding and the stationing of caravans on the land.

The council says it is likely that for the trees to be felled a licence would have been required from the Forestry Commission.

It has been in talks with the commission, who will be visiting site when restrictions of the coronavirus lockdown are lifted.

Both the council and commission are aiming to restore the land to woodland through enforcement action.

Cllr Sara Bedford, leader of the council, said: “This is a significant and reckless breach of planning and tree protection. There has been a significant uproar across the district about the removal of this woodland which was removed without permission from the Council.

“The injunction is the first step to ensure that no further development takes place on the land. Efforts are underway to ensure the woodland is restored in due course. Despite the current ‘pandemic situation, the Council is still taking these matters seriously, operating its planning service and enforcement visits are being undertaken where considered a priority.”